General framework

Basic rules and regulators

What basic rules govern the operation of remotely piloted aircraft and unmanned aircraft (drones) in your jurisdiction? Which regulatory bodies are charged with enforcing these rules?

Drone is a popular name used for remotely piloted aircraft (RPA). The principal rule over the subject is RBAC-E 94 issued by the Brazilian National Civil Aviation Agency (ANAC) in May 2017, which expressly regulates the requirements for unmanned aircraft for civil use. General laws such as the Brazilian Aeronautical Code (Brazilian Law 7.565 of 1986) and criminal, civil and administrative laws in Brazil (principally regulating personal inviolability and personal image) should also be observed. Local rules and guidance issued by the Brazilian National Telecommunications Agency (ANATEL) and the Air Space Control Department (DECEA) must be observed as well. Military use of drones is not subject to RBAC-E94 but to DECEA rules only.

What are the penalties for non-compliance with the laws and regulations governing drones?

The same penalties applicable to general aviation are applicable to the use and operation of drones as they are considered aircraft. General administrative penalties listed in the Brazilian Aeronautical Code and other administrative penalties issued by ANAC, DECEA and ANATEL apply to the use and operation of drones. Illegal operations can be typified in the Brazilian Law of Penal Violations or in articles 261 and 132 of the Brazilian Penal Code where penalties vary from custodial sentences to imprisonment from two to five years.

Classification

Is there any distinction between public and private drones, as well as between leisure use and commercial use?

Yes. Public drones are considered for military use or any state authority and are not subject to the RBAC-E 94 issued by ANAC but only to DECEA’s rules. The RBAC-E 94 applies only to the civil use of drones.

Is there a weight-based classification system for drones resulting in the application of different rules?

Yes. The RBAC-94 divided RPA into three classes according to their take-off weight:

  • class 1: RPA with maximum take-off weight (MTOW) above 150kg;
  • class 2: RPA with MTOW above 25kg and equal or below 150kg; and
  • class 3: RPA with MTOW below or equal to 25kg.

Is there any distinction between completely autonomous drones and remotely piloted drones?

Yes. Autonomous drones are prohibited in Brazil. Brazil ratified the Chicago Convention, which in article 8 prohibits the operation of autonomous aircraft.

Design and manufacture

Registration

Do specific rules regulate the design and manufacture of drones in your jurisdiction?

Yes. Subpart E of the RBAC-E 94 lists all necessary regulations to be fulfilled by manufacturers to obtain ANAC’s approval. ANATEL governs radio frequency regulations in Brazil and also rules the specific characteristics that manufacturers should follow for RPA operation in Brazil. All RPA projects must be previously authorised by ANAC. Different requirements apply depending on each class of RPA and the type of operation: whether visual line of sight (VLOS) or beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS). The request for the approval of a project must contain a flight manual and a maintenance manual.

Manufacturing authorisation

Must drone manufacturers obtain any licences or other authorisation to carry out their business? Are manufacturers subject to any other specific rules?

Manufacturers do not need a specific licence to carry out their businesses although the projects of RPA should be approved by ANAC (see question 6). ANAC has from time to time published updated lists of authorised projects on its website.

Product liability

Do general product liability rules (or other specific liability rules) apply to the manufacture of drones?

General liability rules specified in the Brazilian Consumer Code (Federal Law 8.078 of 1990) apply to any defect for which the manufacturer is liable. The RBAC-E 94 does not impose any specific civil or criminal liability on manufacturers, although general liabilities covered in the Brazilian Aeronautical Code (article 302) should apply to manufacturers.

Registration and identification

Registration

Must drones be registered in a specific national registry? If so, who is entitled to register drones and what requirements and restrictions apply? Is the registry organised as an operator registry or an owner registry?

RPA must be registered with ANAC. ANAC has developed a specific system (SISANT) for the registration of RPA under class 3 flying below 400ft and not the BVLOS. It is an owner register following general aircraft registration rules but registration procedures are much simpler for drones. The owner can upload the drone information through the SISANT, which will automatic generate a number registration of nine characters to be fixed in the fuselage of the aircraft clearly visible for inspections. The owner should just specify its name, address, tax ID (Natural Persons Register or the National Registry of Legal Entities (CNPJ) and email address. The drone can be registered in the name of a person or a company. In the latter case, the owner should inform the CNPJ of the registration number, which is the tax number registration for companies in Brazil. The applicant should also give the following details of the respective drone: name, model, manufacturer, serial number and a picture that clearly identifies the specific drone, including the manufacturer’s serial number or mark. The SISANT issues a registration certificate that should be carried by the RPA owner or pilot during the drone’s operation.

Identification

Are drones identified through a marking system similar to that used for manned aircraft?

Each drone under class 3 with an MTOW of 250g, flying under BVLOS and under 400ft must have a nine-digit code number to be obtained in accordance with our reply to question 9. If a drone is included in class 3 but flying beyond the visual line of sight or over 400ft, it should obtain a specific registration mark with ANAC as applicable for other aircraft.

Certification and licensing

Basic requirements and procedures

What certificates or licences are required to operate drones and what procedures apply?

All RPA should be registered with ANAC. Each RPA should have a certificate of airworthiness unless if operating in class 3 with an MTOW of 250g and below 25kg, flying BVLOS and under 400ft, which should only obtain the necessary registration through the SISANT system as described in more detail in question 9.

For pilot licences, see question 14.

Taxes and fees

Are certification and licensing procedures subject to any taxes or fees?

Nominal fees determined by ANAC should apply.

Eligibility

Who may apply for certifications and licences? Do any restrictions apply?

The owner of a drone should apply to obtain the necessary certifications as more particularly described in question 9. If the operation of the drone requires a flight plan, the pilot or the owner of the respective drone should obtain the necessary authorisations from ANAC and DECEA to operate the drone.

Remote pilot licences

Must remote pilots obtain any certifications or licences to operate drones? If so, do the relevant procedures differ based on the type of drone or operation?

Each pilot is liable for the operation of the drone and should be more than 18 years old. All pilots operating in classes 1 and 2 should have medical certificates as detailed in the RBAC-E 94 and should be registered with ANAC. Pilots operating in class 3 above 400ft above ground level should also be licensed by ANAC and have medical certificates as required for each type of flight. Pilots operating in classes 1 and 2 are subject to the necessary authorisations for general pilots issued by ANAC in accordance with the RBHA 91, which lists the general rules for operation of civil aircraft. Pilots operating in VLOS and below 400ft do not require specific licences.

Foreign operators

Are foreign operators authorised to fly drones in your jurisdiction? If so, what requirements and restrictions apply?

Foreign operators are also subject to the same rules as national operators and should obtain all the local licences to operate RPA.

Certificate of airworthiness

Is a certificate of airworthiness required to operate drones? If so, what procedures apply?

Except for aeromodels or drones under class 3 flying in VLOS below 400ft above ground level, all other RPA should have a certificate of airworthiness. Other RPA in class 3 and under class 2 should obtain a special airworthiness certificate described in the RBAC-E 94. RPA in class 1 should obtain a certificate of airworthiness subject to the rules applicable to general aircraft (RBAC 21).

Operations and maintenance

One drone, one pilot

Does the ‘one drone, one pilot’ rule apply in your jurisdiction?

Yes.

Maintenance

Do specific rules regulate the maintenance of drones?

Yes. RBAC-E 94 determined that maintenance rules for drones are defined by their manufacturer.

Basic operational rules and restrictions

What rules and restrictions apply to flights performed in ‘visual line of sight’ (VLOS) and ‘beyond visual line of sight’ (BVLOS)? Is there a distinction in this regard?

In accordance with RBAC-E 94, there are multiple rules that apply to each class of RPA depending on whether it is operating in VLOS or BVLOS. A drone flying BVLOS must have a special airworthiness certificate for RPA called a CAER.

What rules and restrictions apply to critical and non-critical operations? Is there a distinction in this regard?

In accordance with the guidance published by DECEA, night flights can interfere with the VLOS and should thus respect the provisions in the ICA 100-12, item 4.2.4 published by DECEA. DECEA suggests such flights should take place during the day.

Transport operations

Is air transport via drone (eg, cargo and mail) regulated in your jurisdiction? If so, what requirements, limitations and restrictions apply?

Such transport is not authorised or regulated in Brazil.

Do any specific provisions governing consumer protection and tracking systems apply with respect to cargo and delivery operations via drone?

Such transport is not allowed in Brazil.

Insurance requirements

What insurance requirements apply to the operation of drones?

Third-party liability insurance is mandatory to drones with an MTOW over 250g. However, ANAC has not established any specific limit for liability. All other insurances are optional. Public drones do not require mandatory insurance.

Safety requirements

What safety requirements apply to the operation of drones?

In accordance with DECEA’s guidance, flights are prohibited in airport areas, penitentiaries and areas of critical infrastructure such as thermal plants and energy stations. For flights below 100ft (approximately 30 metres) operation shall occur approximately 5.4km from airfields. For flights between 100ft and 400ft, operations of drones should keep at least 9km away from airfields. Such operations close to airfields can be requested through the SARPAS (DECEA’s system) also requiring issuance of notice to airmen (NOTAM).

Drones should not be operated near third parties who have not authorised the flights of drones and are subject to other DECEA rules. Finally, DECEA’s guide requires flights to be at least 30 metres from private buildings unless authorised by its owners. Flights above 200ft can interfere with helicopter flights so they also require approval of flight plans by DECEA, and flights above 400ft require issuance of NOTAM and a segregated airspace.

Airspace

Air traffic control

How is air traffic control regulated in your jurisdiction? Which authority provides air traffic control services for drones?

Air traffic control for aircraft including drones is regulated by DECEA.

Restrictions

Are there any airspace restrictions on the operation of drones?

Yes. See detailed information in question 24.

Take-off and landing

Must take-off and landing of drones take place in specific areas or facilities?

Yes. First, take-off and landing should be at a distance from third parties unless they have given authorisation for a flyover. The exception applies only for drones operated by public authorities (military use or by other bodies controlled by the government). For aerial survey activities, specific authorisation from the Ministry of Defence is also required. Pursuant to RBAC-E 94, operations in airfields must be authorised by the operator of the respective airfield, and ANAC can, at its sole discretion, establish specific rules for such operations.

Liability and accidents

Cargo liability

Are there any specific rules governing the liability of drones for losses or damage to cargo?

Cargo transport includes people, animals or hazardous cargo. There are few exceptions in relation to hazardous cargo transport, such as when these products are used for agrobusiness activities or forestry activities. Electronic cargo transport is authorised if used during the flight, such as photo cameras or computers. Public cargo transport is not subject to such rules.

Third-party liability

Are there any specific rules governing the liability of drones for damage to third parties on the surface or in the air?

Yes. In accordance with RBAC-E 94, all drones with an MTOW above 250g must have third-party liability insurance; however, ANAC has not established any specific limit.

Accident investigations

How are investigations of air accidents involving drones regulated in your jurisdiction?

Investigations of air accidents involving drones follow the same regulation as general aircraft. DECEA and the Ministry of Defence through the Aeronautical Accidents Investigation and Prevention Center (CENIPA)are the authorities in charge of such investigations. Military police are also authorised to proceed with investigations. Any citizen can report an aircraft accident to ANAC, including drone accidents.

Accident reporting

Is there a mandatory accident and incident reporting system for drone operators in your jurisdiction?

The Ministry of Aeronautics’ specific authority CENIPA is resonsible for analysing aircraft accidents or incidents.

Safety management and risk assessment

Are drone operators required to implement safety management systems and risk assessment procedures within their organisation?

Operators should follow the procedures suggested by manufacturers and also obtain the necessary approvals for flight plans with DECEA.

Ancillary considerations

Import and export control

Do specific import and export control rules apply to drones in your jurisdiction?

Yes. All drones should be seal-approved by ANATEL, which is the public body in charge of radio frequency control. Most imported drones will not have ANATEL’s seal so the owner of the drone should register it on the ANATEL website through a system named MOSAICO and fill in all the technical information of the drone purchased abroad. If this information is not uploaded prior to the drone’s importation into Brazil and the Customs clearance authority seizes the drone, the owner has still the option to sign a statement of responsibility certifying that registration with ANATEL will take place shortly after the drone’s entry into Brazil. All the forms and information can be obtained on ANATEL’s website. A drone that already has ANATEL’s seal does not require any specific registration at importation. After importation to Brazil, all rules in relation to registration and authorisations with ANAC and DECEA should be complied with. Nominal fees apply for the registration of drones with ANATEL.

Data privacy and IP protection

How are personal data privacy and IP protection regulated in your country with specific reference to drone operations?

General law over personal data privacy and IP protection applies to manufacturers of drones, which can choose whether to protect it or not.

Update and trends

Sector trends and regulatory developments

Which industry sectors have seen the most development in the use of drones in your jurisdiction and which sectors are expected to see further development in future? Have there been any notable recent regulatory developments relating to drones?

Sector trends and regulatory developments35 Which industry sectors have seen the most development in the use of drones in your jurisdiction and which sectors are expected to see further development in future? Have there been any notable recent regulatory developments relating to drones?

The public use of drones has become much more intensive over the years for various activities such as mapping the Amazon forest, controlling areas of illegal deforestation, mapping the Savanna region and controlling fires. Aerial survey is also a trending activity for the use of drones.

In the private sector, agrobusiness and photo business have prominent positions. Agrobusiness has used drones to control plagues and map cattle in extensive areas.

Different authorities such as ANAC, DECEA, ANATEL and airport operators in Brazil have been working together to implement major rules for the safe use of drones, principally trying to guarantee that such operations occur far from airports, avoiding aircraft accidents.

Public investors such as the Brazilian National Bank of Economic and Social Development (BNDES) and the Financier of Projects and Studies (FINEP) have been investing in the sector over the years. BNDES has authorised the use of the BNDES credit card for the purchase of drones used for private business activities, and FINEP has been investing in the manufacturing business.